The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

July 22, 2013

‘Back to school’ means new legislative mandates for local schools

INDIANAPOLIS —

Figuring out ways to cut down on gang violence may seem like work for the police, but this coming school year, teachers, students and administrators throughout in Indiana will be enlisted in the effort. 

A new law requiring every school district develop policies and practices to deal with teenage gangs is among at least a dozen new education-related laws with long-term impact that went into effect earlier this month. 

Those new laws range from changes in the school funding formula to temporary relief for some schools from the impact of the property tax caps. But also on the list are laws that require schools to implement tougher anti-bullying policies, do more to crack down on chronic absenteeism, and boost efforts to get more parents involved with their children’s education.

“Over the years, schools have taken on so many issues besides reading, writing, and arithematic, that it’s become an ongoing expectation,” said Dennis Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials. “If something is going on in society, it’s going to be dealt with by the schools.” 

Schools will have plenty to deal with in coming months, according to a new report by Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, known as CEEP. The center identified the most impactful school-related legislation of the past session, with help from a diverse group of education leaders, including Costerison. 

On the list is the biennial budget, which increased K-12 school funding overall by 2 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 1 percent in fiscal year 2015, for a total of about $6.7 billion. But about 40 percent of local school districts won’t see any increase in funding over the next two years and some will see a decline. 

That’s because the state’s school funding formula, adopted two years ago, eliminates the past supports for small school districts or districts with declining enrollments. The funding changes, being phased in over several years, are causing some schools to cut programs and personnel as they adjust to the new funding reality. 

“For schools, the (state) budget bill is always first and foremost importance,” said Terry Spradlin, executive director of CEEP. 

The importance seemed elevated this year, as the Legislature moved to expand school vouchers for low-income families who want to send their children to private schools, using state support. Among other things, the new law waives the requirement that income-eligible students living in failing schools districts attend a public school for one year before applying for a voucher, and it makes it easier for children with special needs and for the siblings of students already in the voucher program to get a voucher. 

Paul DiPerna, of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, hails the expanded voucher program and predicts it will lead to the improvement of public schools that will compete for those students. 

But Todd Bess, head of the Indiana Association of School Principals, sees “far-reaching implications” in how the program was expanded, by easing eligibility to cover more students without capping the final numbers. And Frank Bush, of the Indiana School Boards Association, also fears the expanded voucher program will cut into public school funding: “This is particularly troubling in a time when even more is expected of public school services.” 

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS- HB0731 - Elwood Band 2 Elwood band plans march to Emerald City

    Like toy soldiers on an imaginary battlefield, members of the Elwood Jr./ Sr. High School marching band stood poised for action, silhouetted against a dying sun Tuesday night.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0731 - St Mary's BTS-SH-1 One principal to guide St. Ambrose, St. Mary's Brad Kluesner will serve a dual role as principal of both St. Ambrose and St. Mary's Catholic schools as 2014-2015 classes get underway today.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • boynton, brandon photo Teen receives funding for business venture Brandon Boynton is moving forward with his business dreams, thanks in part to a local working capital loan and a fundraising campaign.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Briefs: July 31 A compilation of news items of local and statewide interest as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 31 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 30, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 30 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 30, 2014

  • Local briefs: July 30 News items of local and state interest as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • Band Day schedule Four high school bands from Madison County will compete in the Music Travel Consultants Band Day set for Aug. 2 at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair.

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior housing project advances If all the pieces fall into place within the next two weeks, construction on a new senior housing development could begin this fall.

    July 30, 2014

  • What's where: July 30 Meetings and local activities scheduled for Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014

July Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook